Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Useful venom

Our friend Phuket Tom sent me some amazing videos of a deadly creature, the cone shell snail.

The first two videos show the cone snail in action:

In this third video, scientists explain the effects of the hundreds of different compounds that go into the venom of each type of cone snail, how they could be used as bio-weapons, but most importantly, how they can be used to develop new drugs to help control or alleviate the symptoms of many conditions.

Dr. Baldomero Olivera is a good friend of Tom's:

"The gentleman in the longest video about the lab in Utah is a good friend of mine, Dr. Toto Olivera. A few years ago he was named U.S. Scientist of the Year (I believe by Harvard University) for his studies of cone shell toxins and their possible use in human medicine - one of his discoveries is now in use and while more powerful than morphine has none of the side effects of that drug. In his research he has visited me here on Phuket several times, looking for additional species of deepwater cones in order to analyze their toxins."

Thank you very much for these videos, Tom. I find this research fascinating, tapping into Mother Nature's resources to produce drugs to help mankind...